Sustainable Living

One evening my daughter who just completed her degree in textile design was telling me about sustainable practices in the textile industry that she was pitching for a film series. It set my thoughts rolling on how we can bring sustainability in all walks of our life. The thought excited me so much that I could take it up as a project for the rest of my life!

Another evening she told me that we need to do something at the community level to make people aware of sustainable living. That very evening I saw in my building WhatsApp group that we need to conserve water given the current situation.

This was a great opportunity to also talk about sustainable living like my daughter was suggesting. So here are a few points that we discussed in the meeting that happened the very next day!

What is sustainability?

Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
“the pursuit of global environmental sustainability”

Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

It has three main pillars:

economic,
environmental,
social.
These three pillars are informally referred to as people, planet and profits

Sustainable living requires a paradigm shift. It requires us to form new habits. It requires us to come out of our comfort zones. It requires us to not just think about our and our family’s convenience, but to think about what is good for the larger community and the planet. Its requires a change in consciousness.

Why is sustainable living important today? Why should we care?

http://www.greenewit.com/inmedia/blog/why-it-is-important-to-live-sustainably.html

Let us set an intention to live a sustainable life and set an example for our larger community.
How can we bring sustainability in our everyday lives?

1. Reduce waste. Read up the zero waste movement. On how we can reduce waste disposal in our homes. Its great that we are already practicing segregation and composting in our society even if there room for further improvement.
One example is to switch to menstrual cups. No more disposing pads and adding to landfills.
https://www.nykaa.com/personal-care/feminine-hygiene/menstrual-cups/c/9475?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkeHavtuQ4wIV0worCh1hjQ9JEAAYAiAAEgJQtvD_BwE&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMIkeHavtuQ4wIV0worCh1hjQ9JEAAYAiAAEgJQtvD_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!599!3!282173849468!b!!g!!&utm_source=GooglePaid&utm_medium=Search&utm_campaign=DSA_Main

2. Recycle and reuse: As far as possible do not throw stuff.
Clothes, shoes and some other household articles can be repaired, reused or upcycled. There are facebook pages to sell gently used or pre-loved items and clothes!

One need not be ashamed to use and buy used things anymore! If its going to save the planet why not!!!

We can conduct a workshops for children and youngsters on how to make simple repairs on clothes like hemming, sewing, sewing buttons and button holes.

3. Avoid plastic products- for example, plastic tooth brushes take 400 years to decompose.

Avoid wrapping gifts with shiny plastic gift covers. It will anyway go to landfill. Instead get children to draw on white paper or paper bags!

One can buy bamboo tooth brushes, straws, pens, ear buds, etc instead from here or other sites: https://www.bambooindia.in/

4. Use biodegradable products:
Bamboo fibre sanitary pads
https://www.heydaycare.com/

Use bamboo fibre napkins

https://letsbeco.com/shop/beco-sustainable-bamboo-serving-napkins-25-pieces/

Use baby diapers only when you go out or when its unavoidable once in a while. Use biodegradable bamboo nappies: https://wonderhood.in/collections/bambo-nature-premium-diapers-buy-online/products/bambo-nature-premature-size-0
Let’s go back to the exemplary Indian toilet training practices. At home only use washable cloth nappies.

5. Stop buying more. Let’s go back to buying new clothes just twice a year. Once on your birthday and one for your special festival….like old times when new clothes were really special.
Encourage fair trade, Slow fashion and handloom.
Let’s encourage crafts made by hand. Industries indulge in sweatshops with unfair practices and underpay and use child labour.
Slow fashion where we can buy handloom material and get it stitched is good for everyone even if it costs more- at least those of us who can afford it.

Let’s learn more about minimalism.

6. Go back to pre industrial practices. Speak to older generation on how they did things in their time.
Let’s see if we can buy groceries in loose and avoid plastic packaging materials.

7. Go vegan. Plant based food takes up lot less resources than animal based food including dairy.
https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/why-go-vegan
Contact me for vegan alternatives.

8. Use natural products like Reetha, shikakai, methi for hair wash, stuff from the kitchen for facials and scrubs like fruits and lentils. Let’s avoid products that come in plastic bottles and those that contain harmful chemicals although they may seem enticing.

These do come in plastic bottles but are completely chemical free: http://bubblenutwash.com/

9. Encourage small home businesses for buying various products. For example I buy shampoo bars and dishwasher soaps from my friend who makes them at home and the products are great!
https://m.facebook.com/fatimashaikh2229/

10. Let us go organic and encourage organic farmers. Let’s buy directly from them. As more and more of us demand pesticide and chemical free food, the cost will reduce as production goes up.
Let us avoid giving our children processed food as far as possible and give them homemade food.

11. Let’s conserve limited resources such as fuel, water and electricity. Let’s cut down on using ACs at home. Let’s patiently educate our domestic help to conserve water. Let’s spread awareness on rainwater harvesting.
Let’s walk instead of driving wherever possible.
I heard of an 80 year old lady, a scientist who has been living without electricity for the past 60 years!!
Did you know Solar panels are available for home use!?
https://www.amazon.in/Belifal-Lighting-System-20Watts-Battery/dp/B01DPBSE9Y?tag=googinhydr18418-21

12. Let us be vigilant when it comes to children’s gadget use. Let us encourage them to play outside more. We’re lucky that our kids have that possibility.
Let’s teach our children to live and consume responsibly by example.

These are some of the things we can do every day in our homes. Most, if not all of the links are of products I use. Some I found just now!
I’m not sponsored by them. My intention is to give examples of such alternatives.
Let’s us indulge in conscious consumerism. Let’s preserve the planet for our children and grandchildren.
It’s now a very real and urgent problem that needs our heart and mind space.

Nirupama Rao

PAIN IS GOOD

Pain is good. Pain has the power to transform us- if only we allow it and not fight it and resist it. I’m grateful to my pain. And to each and every one who is supporting me through it.

One night in April 2019 I was struck by this intense pain in my right neck, shoulder and arm. The intensity was way more than both the labour pains I had been through.

It was diagnosed as “prolapsed disc” but I know otherwise now.

When we are struck by an illness or crisis, we tend to ask, “why me!”

I think it’s a valid question that we need to ask ourselves and our illness…why me? Why now? Why this?

In theory I knew that pain gives us an opportunity to evolve. But this time I had a direct experience.

What I have learnt from this whole ‘so called’ cervical slipped disc saga is this….

Pain and suffering have a purpose. They come into our lives when we stray from our destiny paths. We take birth on earth to learn and evolve. Our destiny helps us with that. But sometimes the pains and pleasures of Samsara take us away from that.

Hence we ‘need’ crises, illness and hard times in our lives to remind us of our higher purpose which is, to evolve to the next stage in spiritual development.

We need to ‘not suppress’ the pain but we need to connect with it- get in touch with it. Breathe into it (Thanks Cameron). Talk to it, listen to it and ask why its here. What it wants from us…what is it that I need to learn…..

My attention was drawn to the possibility that I was carrying a lot of emotional pain from the past that I had not dealt with. It had probably manifested into the physical. I had a huge catharsis one day. I cried for one whole hour….loudly. I let everything go.

I learnt that I had no right over the outcome of my actions. That relieved me of a huge burden of guilt and shame that I was carrying.

Another message that was coming in – from many quarters- was that I need to “look within”. Stay in the present moment. Not be carried away by external impressions.

To not think about ‘what I have to do’….that will come in it’s own course- it will find me- when I’m ready.

Now I just need to focus on “being”- not doing.

My job until then, is to work on building myself physically, emotionally and spiritually so that I am ready for whatever it is that the universe wants of me.

I found a wonderful doctor and therapist who helped me through my pain and who are helping me to get stronger than ever!

Dr Kannan and Megha from Sparrc Institute

I surrender to the will of the universe. The only thing that I need to be concerned right now is about how I can try to be the best version of myself!!

I can say that even as I set that intention, wonderful new beginnings are already unfolding, peeping around the corner….I don’t let self doubts stop me anymore this time. It’s the universe manifesting its will through me. I am merely an instrument and the instrument needs some servicing 😄.

I don’t let myself feel guilty for focusing on myself and my well being. I can’t give until I receive.

Receiving with gratitude

This time I promise myself that I shall not overstretch myself, I shall strengthen myself and find my balance. I shall increase my Qi/Prana quotient. And guess what! I have found a Taichi Master!

GRATITUDE

Nirupama Rao